This story was written by Staci D. Kramer.
A federal appellate court smacked the Bush-era FCC with a ruling overturning the 30 percent cap on cable ownership and possibly opening the doors to even more cable consolidation. It’s the second time that the DC court has ruled the FCC failed to justify the rule, established to keep any one cable company from dominating the cable space. When the current version was approved in 2007, Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) was bumping up against the limit with 27 percent and quickly went to court, arguing that growing satellite competition would protect programmers and consumer choice.
From Bloomberg: “Today the court adopted Comcasts reasoning. It cited satellite companies and those that send programming over fiber- optic cables, such as Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T (NYSE: T) Inc. ‘In light of the changed marketplace, the governments justification for the 30 percent cap is even weaker now than in 2001 when we held the 30 percent cap unconstitutional,’ Judge Douglas Ginsburg wrote for a three-member panel of the court.”
By Staci D. Kramer